With a tougher rating system, many 2011 vehicles are finding it difficult to receive the 5-star safety rating from the Department of Transportation. An important symbol of vehicle safety, the 5-star rating is important to both auto makers and consumers, who often consider the rating when purchasing new vehicles.
So far, 33 vehicles for 2011 have been tested and only 2 have received 5-star ratings, proving the system has become increasingly tougher, the results of an incentive first started in 2008 by the Bush White House. Compared to 2010, when 99 vehicles received 5-star ratings, the 2011 have a much more difficult road ahead of them.
When asked about the new safety rating system, Toyota officials responded, “Toyota engineers are investigating measures to further enhance safety performance so Camry again obtains outstanding assessment results under the new rating system.”
According to David Strickland, chief of the National Highway Safety Administration, “We’re just trying to make the manufacturers stretch even more to make cars safer.”
However, many car manufacturers are concerned that the new ratings may affect sales, and, according to Daniel Ryan, government and safety affairs manager for Mazda Motor Corp.’s North American operations, “There is a small number of consumers who say, ‘I won’t buy it unless it’s five stars’.”
Despite concerns from auto manufacturers, the new vehicle safety rating system comes into effect at a time when accident-related deaths are their lowest since 1950, due to increased use of seatbelts and better driving habits, and the Department of Transportation hopes that the more rigorous system will further lower driving deaths in the coming years.
Vehicle safety ratings can be found at www.safercar.gov.